Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day One

My friend and I tried building a go-cart when I was about eight years old. He was a year older than me, if I remember correctly, and a pretty smart guy. I thought this because he talked a lot about things that I didn't know much about, like sex and computers.
He told me that I was born because my parents had sex.
I said that if that's the case, then his parents must have had sex too.
He said that they didn't.

The go-cart we were making was laid out on his driveway and front lawn as pieces of scrap wood, nuts and bolts, some other tools, and some wheels from a skateboard. I sat there and mostly watched my smart friend piece the random parts together. In my mind I imagined a wooden-box-shaped tub-on-wheels, coasting down Shady Hollow Drive like some episode of "The Little Rascals," or a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting, but with me in it.


Today, I said out loud, "I want for it to change my life."
Those are strong words filled with so many expectations.
I've enrolled in three night classes this semester; two are in computing, and the third is in basic sewing techniques. Sometimes when I tell people that I am taking such courses, they ask if I want to become whatever professional person is assigned to that particular specialty.
Do you want to become and animator?
Do you want to become a fashion designer?
None of the above.
I just want to expand as person, learn more, and live a full life.
I think I've been coasting on auto-pilot for some time now. This is not to sound aloof or arrogant, or even ungrateful, but it's the truth.
Why do you want to become an animator?
Why do you want to become a fashion designer?
I told you.
I don't.

Well not entirely, that is.

I've always believed that one's art and craft are extensions of themselves, whether aesthetically or conceptually, and so as a person changes, it makes sense for their work to do so as well. Within the medium that I have been working in (Adobe Illustrator) my work has changed considerably; however, I find that the more time that I spend using this material (because the software is the material and tool that I choose to use) I'm becoming less surprised by what this medium can do for me.

Today I used "code" or "coding" (gosh, I don't even know the proper jargon to use) to create a digital brush from an online open source, I assume that's what it was - a brush tool? - and I also learned how to create a circuit and then program the board to turn an LED light on. I have no idea how this is related to illustration, but I can tell you that the kid inside of me is skipping right now. I feel like a character in Dave Hickey's book "Air Guitar," the kind of person who can talk incessantly about things in their life that they love: like books, and surfing, and music to others. I met one of these people once at a framing shop in Manhattan, who moved to New York City during the early eighties from India. He was the son of Master Printmaker, who learned about this artform from his father. When he moved to New York City as a young adult, he continued to work in this field through some chance encounter with a stranger who also happened to work in a printmaking studio. That's a terrible and anticlimactic short version of the story, but more than anything, I recall the life in his voice, and the excitement in his gestures. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to code. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to sew. That's what it feels like when I'm learning how to animate.


We never did complete the go-cart. I think in our heads we imagined it would be done in an afternoon, and maybe it would've been if we had the help of an adult, but it was just the two of us mining through the supplies in front of us that we didn't know how to use, nor how to piece together. Still, it was a good day to have our imaginations fueled and sparked by the possibility of trying something new, trying and failing and then trying again.

* The image above was created using "Processing," a free and open source software that can be found online at


Ryan Hartley said...

Marcos, this is a beautiful story and I'm so excited about all your plans! Just like in Air Guitar, I know you will make something so exquisite that the sunset's cheap, showy fraudulence will be laid bare.

Marcos Chin said...

thanks for the message ryan... viva las vegas!!!!

Ricardo Lopez Ortiz said...

You are one inspiring dude!

MJC *-* said...

Many many times if you write something I'm like: yeah! YEAH! That's IT! I think that if you learn new things outside your comfort zone (ohhh sorry, my English is too poor to explain what I want to explain) that you will learn things that you can use again in your illustrations. Everything is so connected. Also...I was reading a book about brains and it tells you that if you learn a new language, or learn an instrument for example, you make the connections in your brain stronger, so will be more creative.